Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Drudgery?? Really??

From the home page of the New York Times today:

New services are delivering ready-to-cook ingredients for recipes that can be made quickly, the latest innovation to promise Americans relief from kitchen drudgery.

Relief from kitchen drudgery? Really?

I didn't even read the rest of the article, or the comments. The photo and intro of the article appeared to be focusing on promoting every possible service and/or gadget for sale that people could use instead of doing any planning or cooking themselves, let alone enjoying the process of cooking, which does not need to be lengthy or difficult to be satisfying and delicious.

Don't get me wrong. I understand being tired, being time-challenged. After all, those reasons are the premise being marketed to us as the whole idea behind the creation and 'desired use' of processed, convenience, fast foods, and even eating in restaurants or doing take-out/drive-through for meals.

I just feel that something is lost in the bigger picture of the lifestyle that is part of this crazy, tired, busy life along with the creation and marketing of products and services to keep that treadmill going!  (Here is one post - Why don't people cook? - where I have shared some of these thoughts in the past.)  

Perhaps I was already on 'edge' because I already read earlier today another article in the New York Times that was the summary of yet another report extolling the need to change our research priorities regarding cancer, from treatment to prevention, and how little we are doing in that regard. (Here is one post where I have commented on the President's Cancer Panel of 2010 in the past, and the big yawn with which that report was greeted by the media.) 

It's as if our lives are all moving too fast to call a halt to the current treadmill to really look at our lives, the way we are spending our collective dollars, and the burden that cancer puts on individual families and society at large. (Maybe we're all too tired, have no time, plus actively even encourage and support the profits being made on gadgets and services rather than taking the time to cook simply.)

I know I am likely sounding like a broken record (and perhaps even an old fuddy-duddy). I have written on all these topics in the past, several times (see links above for two past posts), trying to tie together a world where fast, convenient, synthetic, processed, etc is the norm being marketed to us contrasted with my views that somehow I think "there is something rotten in Denmark". 

Yet I am not alone. My read of the landscape, i.e. my ear on the street, says cancer survivors are no longer buying (i.e. believing) that somehow this busy lifestyle, these chemicals, these products are not all connected to the misery that cancer leaves in its wake. I know this from my contacts across the country, even the world, with both cancer survivors and the research community. 

Changing our diet, exercising everyday, meditating to handle stress better, reducing stresses in our lives where possible, living life with purpose is not the whole story for cancer survivors and is certainly not the whole story for cancer prevention. Don't let the experts come to town to tell you that 'if only you will.................fill in the blank, you can prevent cancer.' I'm afraid that neither cancer prevention nor cancer survivorship is that simple, nor should the entire responsibility be on one individual's shoulders.  

And while the last sentence of the NYTimes article highlights the available vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, please, please, please do NOT believe that a vaccine is the answer to preventing breast cancer, which would only give permission to continue the current 'business as usual', the use of toxins on our food, in our soil, in our cosmetics, and on and on, which contributes to an almost unavoidable environmental exposure of a dizzying and complex array of synthetic molecules used in everyday things and processes that have had virtually no testing in meaningful ways (i.e. low levels in combinations) that relate to cancer development in real life (this might be my longest sentence, ever, sorry about that - arghhh!).

I repeat. I understand being tired, being 'time-challenged'. After all, I needed to hire someone to cook for us last summer during our busiest part of the growing, harvesting, and marketing season.  

However, I'll say it simply and plainly. I do not view any aspect of cooking as drudgery, and I find it deeply disheartening that the New York Times gives credence to that mind-set. What a missed opportunity. Words are powerful. I much prefer to think of cooking as love and nurturing, besides knowing the food will be delicious. :) 

I have used the following quote from the New York Times itself before, but I believe it so much that I will end with it again. 

When we put on the apron, we are nurturing. 
This is not work; it’s love. 

Carol Nicklaus - Danbury, Conn.
(from her Letter to the Editor, New York Times, Sept. 25, 2011)

Cultivate your life - you are what you grow (and cook), inch by inch, row by row,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

1 comment:

Melinda Hemmelgarn said...

I got a door mailer coupon for a service that picks up take out and delivers it to your home. What is wrong with this picture? If we don't have time to make a meal....we are missing out on nourishing ourselves, and developing an intimate relationship with the food that will become us.

Tonight I made dinner for a friend who has been on a job search for a long time. It was yet another rejection call. I made her dinner. It was my way of giving love to her. I don't know who benefited more from this simple act of cooking, feeding, and caring.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.